Conservatories make for wonderful spaces in which to relax, where you can sit and while away the hours on a gorgeous midsummer’s day, soaking up those glorious rays of sunlight whilst burying your head between the pages of a great book.
They’re also good to host guests – just think about dining under the stars. Or even as a simple extra room: the kids would love playing with their toys inside those transparent walls!
All of these uses for a conservatory are great, but they’re all forgetting the origins of the room itself – to help grow plants that wouldn’t thrive outside in the natural (read: terrible) climate of the British Isles.
Use Your Conservatory as a Shelter for Wintering
With a conservatory, a keen gardener no longer has to abandon loads of his more delicate plants come winter time. There are plenty of plants which can be moved into the conservatory to overwinter – these include geraniums, fuchsias, miniature roses and other container plants. They can be moved back outside again once spring has sprung.
Flowers such as chrysanthemums, poinsettias and azaleas can thrive inside a conservatory, living for much longer than they would outside. If you bring in begonias to overwinter, you can even use them for cuttings just before spring starts; this way you will have them blooming in time for summer.
Shelving and Hanging Baskets
Conservatories were once used to raise larger plants, such as the lovely (but oft forgotten) breadfruit tree, as well as the stately South American queen palm. Sadly, modern conservatories are far too small to house these beauts, but they are perfect for shelves and hanging baskets!
Hanging baskets are great for the previous summer’s primroses, or for lovely little additions like geraniums, while the shelves can be home to some fantastically exotic plants, like florist gloxinias and Kaffir lilies.
Sure, your conservatory is a great place to shelter some of your garden favourites throughout those pesky icy months, but what about something a bit more long term? You can raise some plants in the conservatory all year round for that truly natural feel.
If your conservatory is of a fairly decent size, try a flowering vine – give it the right support to grow and they can provide some lovely shade and soften any over-sharp corners. A climbing rose or the scarlet runner bean both work well, but our favourite is the cypress vine: not only does it annually reseed itself, but it will look great growing alongside your 2furnish furniture!
Wicker and rattan furnishings go great with flowering vines, and if you’re looking for a bit of extra colour during those drab and dreary times of winter, we would be failing if we didn’t mention pink jasmine – it comes into bloom just as the sky sinks into its greyest phase.
Also, if you really want to jazz things up, try Chinese hibiscus – it is beautiful.
British summertime has rolled around once again, so now is the time to be outside enjoying the summer sunshine for as long as it lasts. It’s about this time of year you might realise that all of your garden furniture has either been ruined from the heavy snow and rain we have had over the past year. Or maybe you think your old garden bench is just not up to the job anymore. Whatever the reason this guide will hopefully point you in the right direction. The typical decision to be made when looking at garden benches is what type to go with. There are wooden benches that are most likely to be made from Teak or alternatively you can look at metal benches which most commonly made from Steel or Aluminium. This guide will weigh up the pros and cons of each and hopefully help you to decide on the bench that’s right for you, so you can waste no time getting out into the garden.
Wooden benches are typically the most common material for a bench to be made from. There is good reason for this. The most common material used for wooden benches is Teak. Teak is considered to be one of the most robust outdoor woods available, making it great for outdoor use all year round. A Teak bench is not only a strong material but can also look great in any garden, especially if you already have wooden garden furniture a Teak bench will fit in perfectly. A wooden bench should be relatively low maintenance, if you want to keep your bench in good condition you will need to apply a protective coat of UV paint to your bench on a yearly basis to ensure the wood does not fade over time. Teak as a material should stay strong and study for many years with little to no maintenance however but is likely to fade if exposed to direct sunlight. One major benefit of wood is that it doesn’t conduct heat. This will mean that your bench will not become hot when exposed to direct sunlight which could make it uncomfortable to sit on. This is also true for the cold, which means your bench should be ready to sit on all year round even in the winter.
There are a few downsides to having a wooden bench. As mentioned above wood may require slightly more maintenance than a metal bench, you need to consider how much time you are willing to spend to apply the necessary protective products to your bench every year. Wooden benches can also be quite heavy. You will need to take the weight of the bench into account if you plan to move your bench around the garden to take advantage of the sun. If this is the case a metal bench might be more appropriate.
Metal garden furniture can be more to some people’s tastes. There are many reasons to choose a metal bench over wood. Wooden benches are likely to need treatments every year to ensure the colour does not fade and they don’t start to splinter. Metal garden furniture however requires much less in the way of maintenance. Aluminium can be treated with a mineral oil to protect the surface. Or even just washing with soapy water on the odd occasion will keep it in reasonable condition. Aluminium is not prone to rust or fading making this type of outdoor furniture very low maintenance. Aluminium furniture is also very light which is ideal if you like you want to move your bench to another spot.
Steel is another common material for garden benches. Steel is slightly more durable than aluminium and is understandably heavier too. It will need to be protected with a protective coat to prevent any rust so will require slightly more maintenance than aluminium. Due to the study frame of a steel bench they are very comfortable. Steel benches are an ideal choice if you require something more static, as they can be quite heavy are not ideal to be frequently moved. Both metal benches would also be resistant to any sun damage unlike wood which eliminates any worry in that regard. They will however become very cold in the winter and can absorb the heat in the sun so more care has to be taken around them than wooden furniture.
This concludes this short guide on garden benches. Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you will need to make an informed purchase and get outside enjoying the sunshine as quickly as possible.
About the author:
Ed Sloane is the MD of Home Life Direct, On-line retailer based in the UK specialising in Conservatory Furniture and Garden Furniture.
A stone retaining wall is not just an important element in a landscape. It also holds a number of benefits that can improve the utilization of your garden or yard.
Retaining walls are excellent additions to any landscape. They are usually designed to appear like a conventional wall, though they can also be in the form of a series of steps or tiers, allowing for a more attractive design.
A number of different materials can be used to create a retaining wall. However, stones and other special blocks crafted from aggregates remain as the primary materials of choice by many builders because they are readily available, take less time to assemble, and are more visually pleasing once built. Beyond these things, though, a stone retaining wall can offer you and your landscape number of other benefits when it is properly laid.
Creates an attractive enclosure
A well-built, stone wall makes for an excellent barrier while looking stylish at the same time. The great thing about a stone retaining wall is that you may opt to deviate from the usual straight wall design and instead stack the stones into a greatly curved wall to add flair and definition to your front or backyard. A curvy stone wall, either low or high, can create a sense of enclosure and privacy without sacrificing aesthetics.
Addresses problem slopes and controls soil erosion
Aside from providing a clear property line and improving the visual appeal of your landscape, a stone retaining wall is also good at holding back slopes that are too steep. As long as the stones used to construct this stabilizing structure are properly selected and are proven to be sturdy, the retaining wall can hold problem slopes in place, thereby preventing soil erosion and unnecessary soil movement.
Provides extra footage for planting
As mentioned earlier, a stone retaining wall can be designed to form a series of steps or tiers. If your garden or yard has limited floor space and you have no other place to plant your greens and blooms, a tiered stone retaining wall is a good addition that will offer you the extra space you need to satisfy your green thumb. A tiered stone retaining wall is also found to provide better erosion control as the series of steps help break down the amount of soil, evenly redistributing the lateral pressure coming from the sloping ground.
Requires little to no maintenance
Another great benefit of constructing a stone retaining wall is that once it is complete, you can totally forget about maintenance. You do not have to repaint it and there are no weathered or warped boards to repair. An occasional wash with the hose and repointing for deteriorated mortar joints (in the case of mortared stone retaining wall) are all you need to maintain the pristine appearance of your stone retaining wall. The natural strength of stones also ensures that the structure itself will last for the years to come.
With all the benefits that can be derived from having a stone retaining wall, it is safe to say that it is a good investment you can make. A carefully designed and built stone retaining wall is an attractive and functional structure that will definitely give value to your money and will significantly improve your landscape.
This post was written by Ericka for www.mcintyremasonry.co.uk. Ericka is an avid writer who loves to write insightful articles related to general home improvement.
Today the “organic” department of your food market has grown exponentially. These diverseness of foods are no longer a cult of flower people and environmental junkies. Organic foods are everywhere and you are able to find them alongside other vegetable and fruit in your local corner stores and food market.
So what about home grow vegetable and fruit from your own garden?
Have you made the leap and embrace this source of healthy food yet? Let us have a look at how you are able to metamorphose your regular garden into a delight of healthy organic vegetable and fruit. It does not take a lot to go organic and you will have less problems with insects or poor soil.
Organic gardens are different from the regular gardens in the way that the plants are fertilized and in the way that pests are controlled. Faithful gardeners use entirely earthy products and materials and shy away from all synthetic materials that could be harmful to the environment or to those who consume the produce.
Organic gardens take a good deal of work, a lot more than the conventional gardens. Just think of the healthy meals you get when the vegetable or fruit is in season and the joy you get from that.
On the other hand, an organic farmer may decide to can their vegetable or store them for later use when they are no longer in season.
Remember that organic fertilizers and conditioners work more slowly than the synthetic variety so mix up the soil with your fertilizer at least three weeks before you actually plant. Make sure you remove any organic materials that haven’t rotted yet and any weeds or unwanted plants. Fertilizers usually mean using animal manures, plant manures, compost or a mixture of different types of organic fertilizers. Some parts of the world rely on human waste but, generally, that’s not recommended.
Your organic fertilizer will remove the hardness of the soil and improve its overall condition. The soil will be able to hold both water and nutrients much better after fertilizing it. In addition, organic fertilizer buffers the soil so it is more stable to extremes of acidity or alkalinity. In many cases, the microbiology of the soil improves and the added nutrients will gradually release themselves as the plants grow.
Organic plant fertilizer can add healthy nitrogen to the soil in a process called “nitrification”. Nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for the growth of all garden plants – even conventional ones. Compost heap help organic gardens by improving the usable nitrogen component of the soil.
Animal manures make the best type of fertilizer for the common organic garden. They needs to be ripened for at least thirty days to make the nitrogen more useful. These manure varies depending on the type of the animal, the way the animal was fed and even the condition of the animal. After letting the soil rest with the animal manure, you are ready to plant and grow organic vegetable and fruit from your own garden.
Spring is the time you have the urge to start your own garden, but what if you live in an apartment, you can’t truly have a full garden without a yard! Among the better solutions is to grow plants in containers, containers can be put on your patio, window sill or just hang them. In no time you can have your living area look cool and colorful.
The benefit of growing in small containers is that you can move them around to accommodate your needs. Just like furniture you can move them around with ease. Another benefit is the versatility, you can even conform it to simulate any environs depending upon the type of material you use and where you put it.
To attain an esthetically attractive placement of containers and plants, you can set the containers at different heights by hanging them from the ceiling or placing them on supports. Hanging them will allow you to make the most of the limited space you have. This is called “vertical gardening”. You are able to arrive at a very aesthetic arrangement of plants while economizing your precious space. One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step ladder. With some resourcefulness, you can arrange all the plants in a lovely, adorable cascade of color.
Looking after the plants in the containers will take additional time, as you have to water more frequently and go about to all the individual container. Even so, it is important that you do not over-water, as this can be just as bad to their health of the plants as under-watering.
When picking out containers for your plants, you want to purchase them all together along with a few extras in case they break or you want to add more plants later. You mat not want them to be all the same shape and size, but definitely the same style so that they compliment each other. Plastic containers are better and require less watering, however if you want to go with clay or earthen pots then you should use plastic liners inside the pots. This will help it retain water, as the clay will soak up water.
Another thing to think about when buying pots is that the size of the pot will in the end constrict the size of the plant. Make a moral selection of pots based on what you want to grow in each container. Search the internet for the plant you chose, you can find specs as to how much root space it need. If you only have a limited amount of space for it, you can constrict it by choosing a pot that isn’t large enough to support healthy growth.
If container gardening sound attracting to you, then start planning your container garden today. Make a list of the plants you want to have, and check what size and shape of pots you need. Afterward, it is only a matter of how to arrange them to your desire and start enjoying your container garden.
Are you one of people just stick a fake tree in a corner of your living room, dust the leaves off once a week, and call it indoor gardening, but indoor gardening has grown into more than that. There are also many individuals that thinks plants belong inside, and there are many reasons for starting an indoor garden. For example, plants sucked up carbon dioxide from the air, they also remove many poisonous toxins and pollutants. Indoor gardening will ensue an aesthetical decoration in your house and give you cleaner air.
When picking out plants for your indoor garden, make certain the plants are adaptable and will be able to thrive in your home. Consider how much time you can tender the plants, how much light your house offers, and naturally how much money you want to spend on your indoor garden. If you are on a small budget, start with seeds or cuttings. But if you have more money to start out you can buy plants that has already grown. A different thing to consider is if you want plants that can be displayed all year or just for a season. Herb gardens are a good choice for indoor gardening; they are both enchanting and eatable. They will grow jolly quick and you won’t have to wait long to see outcomes. A few favorite herbs, particularly for cooking, are chives, dill, sage, thyme, and oregano.
With your indoor garden, consider your gardening experience before choosing a plant. There are some plants that are stronger and endure better, thus better for the beginner gardener. Some examples are Fatsia, Cyperus, Scandens, Popular Succulents, Coleus, and Bromeliads.
Some basic rules in maintaining plants are different for indoor gardening then that of a regular outdoor garden. Since the plants will not get the sunlight they do outdoors, you need to know exactly how much light your plants need and pick plants that only need medium to low light, such as ferns or Philodendrons, unless you plan to provide artificial lighting. If you buy plants already grown, wherever you purchase them most likely has better lighting than your home so you will need to “train” your plants and reduce the light gradually. When you get the plants inside, make sure and rotate them to encourage upright development.
Just remember your indoor plants have to have water as well. How often you water, once again, depends on what type of plants you have. Make sure the water can drain out of the bottom of the pot and try to use water that is about the same as the temperature of the room. And give attention to the temperature in your house in order to ensure healthy plants. A 10 to 15 degree different won’t hurt any plants, however rapid changes may cause damage.
Indoor gardening have some advantages over outdoor gardening. For instance, you will not have to concern about bugs and insects irritating your plants. You will not have to worry about wind or frost reeking mayhem on your garden as well.
There are many health benefits to using herbs medicinally and for pleasure. The history of using plant allies is long, and using plants for health and well being is a tried and true tradition. Many people find that vaporizing the herbs they are using is one of the best ways to experience the benefits of the herb. Buying vaporizer herbs can be expensive, and it can sometimes prove to be difficult to ascertain that the herbs you are purchasing are of the best quality and freshness. Therefore, it is beneficial to learn to grow your own herbs at home.
Vaporizer Herbs from Seed
The first step in growing herbs at home is purchasing seeds. Decide upon the type of herbs you wish to grow, and seek out a reliable source to purchase seeds from. You may wish to find an organic seed farm in your area to purchase from. It is helpful to buy seeds from someone that you are able to communicate with. That way they can give you tips, and you can hold them accountable for the quality of their seeds.
Sprouting Seeds Indoors
Spend some time studying about the proper growing conditions for the herb you wish to grow. It may be worthwhile to purchase some indoor grow lights and set up an area in your home that is devoted to the growth of your herb. Grow lights may seem like an expensive investment, but in the long run it will most likely be worth your while. You will be able to grow your herb in all seasons, and you will also be able to control the factors that influence the health and overall quality of your herb : light and water! Plant your seeds and watch them grow! The process of sprouting a seed is full of wonder. It may bring you back to a sense of childhood awe as you watch a small speck turn into a living, green plant. It is a microcosm for the beauty of the universe, and it will teach you valuable and simple lessons.
Caring for your Vaporizer Herbs
Be sure your plants are receiving the ideal amount of water and light. You may also wish to periodically use a high quality fertilizer to boost the nutrients in the soil. Some people swear that plants grow better when they are loved. Musicians enjoy playing tunes for their growing plants. Just talking to your plants in loving tones may help them to reach their maximum potential.
Harvesting your Herb
Harvest time is a joy! Be sure you are harvesting your herb at the right time. Read guide books, online sources, and be sure to talk to other growers. Often speaking with an experienced grower is the greatest source of quality information. Once you harvest your herb, you may choose to vaporize it in its fresh or dried state, depending on the type of herb you are growing. Enjoy the experience, knowing that you grew the plant that is your ally. Then begin the process again, making necessary changes to improve the quality of your herb each time.
About the author:
Sam Moser is a freelance content writer who has written almost exclusively for the web since graduating from the School of Journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. Formerly a cigarette smoker, Sam has appreciated the health benefits of the PUFFiT vaporizer.
If you’re reading this then you’ll know that winter is officially over for those of us in the northern hemisphere. It won’t be long until shoots begin to rear their heads and trees spring back to life (no pun intended).
If you’re like me then chances are that you’ve neglected your garden a little bit this winter. Who can blame you? It’s normally too cold and wet to be out there doing chores. But don’t worry, now that the warmer and dryer weather is coming, you can begin work and help liven up your garden again.
Below you will find some tips to help you get your garden back into good health. And best of all, all of these tips are for those on a tight budget. So it won’t break the bank.
Cut the grass
Cutting the grass might seem obvious, but it’s something many of us forget to do after winter. A nice freshly cut lawn has the effect of making your garden instantly look cleaner. It also releases grass pollen into the air, along with any other pollen spores that may have been caught in the grass. This will help plants to grow and make your garden even greener.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of going over to a neighbour’s house to borrow a cup of sugar. Well I bet you didn’t think of doing the same with plants.
If you notice that a neighbour has some nice plants in their garden try asking them if they have any spare seeds or seedlings that you could use in your garden. You could even offer them some seeds from your garden in exchange.
Your local garden centre may offer a seed exchange program where you can meet other like-minded green fingered locals.
Wash your patio or deck
In winter our patio’s and decking spaces don’t get used very much. This means that it’s easy for dirt to accumulate on them. This needs to be cleaned to make these areas useable again for the summer ahead.
To clean your patio use a thick brush and sweep away all of the dirt. Check in the gaps between patio slabs for any weeds that might have grown and pull them out. You can also use weed killer to prevent them from growing back.
If you’re cleaning your decking then use a stiff brush on it. Really push down hard to remove any dirt that’s stuck to the decking, and then use some decking cleaner. This will remove any dirt that’s moved deep into the grain.
Some people find that pressure washing their decking makes it look even cleaner. So you can try that too. If you want to make your decking look even better than you can apply a fresh coat of decking oil and give your decking area that “brand new” feeling.
Homeowners who choose to use natural lawn care supplies instead of conventional products are doing the right thing because it is the environment-friendly option.
By utilizing the former, they are safeguarding themselves from the health hazards that are posed by toxic chemicals that conventional products contain. Simply put, utilizing natural lawn care supplies is good for the environment and can play essential roles in maintaining overall health.
Many hesitate to purchase lawn supplies that contain natural ingredients because of the fact that they are more expensive than ordinary products. This is not always the case because if huge quantities are purchased, they can be obtained at discount prices. Such strategy makes using natural products more feasible and more budget-friendly.
On the other hand, before making any moves to take care of the lawn, homeowners need to have an idea of the necessary commodities. This is important because some treatment may be redundant and may just be a waste of time money.
Putting the said factor into consideration, it would be best to employ the services of professional landscapers to analyze the lawn, check the acidity levels of the soil, and perform other tasks. Based on the findings, homeowners can purchase the right lawn care supplies without wasting money and harming their lawns.
Extreme caution should not only be taken when it comes to purchasing the right products but also from what company the goods will be purchased. This is because there is many manufacturers on the market that claim to sell all-natural products but mix them regular ingredients.
For this reason, it would be best to scrupulously compare lawn care supplies before making a purchase. This is important for those who want to really free themselves from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals and get their money’s worth.
A lot of times, company personnel know that the commodities that they sell do not contain all-natural ingredients but choose to hide the fact from their consumers to improve their profit. Consumers should do their part and perform proper research before making a purchase.
Alternatively, they can purchase from tried and tested suppliers that sell a wide array of natural lawn care products that do not pose any risk to the environment and to the health of their users.
Such move can go a very long way in terms of home landscaping because the gains that can be accomplished from it are well worth it.
You need to exercise some careful consideration and thought before you start preparing your planting bed. Good places in your garden with exposure to sunshine and rainfall should be selected for your planting bed. Lot of care is also necessary in selecting and planting the plants for your planting bed. Ill planned planting beds can spoil the look of your garden completely. Below are the tips for beginners for preparing planting beds:
Plan about your Planting Bed in Advance
The first thing that should be done by you is marking the area where your planting bed is going to be. Spend some time on this and decide in advance what you want to plant in the bed. Decide how big each of the plants is going to be when they grow up. Deciding on the plants you want to plant in the bed will help in determining the size of your planting beds. A planting bed should have a minimum diameter of 42’’ and a corner bed should have a diameter of 12’’. After you decide on the size of your planting bed, mark out your planting beds using the marking paint available at the hardware stores.
Prepare the Planting Bed
Once you outline your planting bed, proceed to prepare your plating bed. Spray some herbicides like ‘RoundUp’ on the grass and weeds inside the bed area. Be careful not to allow the spray to fall on to the grass and other plants which may kill them. Wait for 72 hours (3 days) for the herbicide to work and start the digging and chopping work for your planting bed. Dig the soil and remove some soil from the bed area and cover your bed area with 9 layers of paper (news paper or brown paper grocery bags). Now fill your planting bed with good quality topsoil procured from a good yard. Never order for topsoil for your planting bed on the phone or the internet. Buy the topsoil only after inspecting its quality personally.
Your planting bed is ready for planting trees once your have filled it with topsoil. Selecting the plants for your planting bed is a tricky game. This will generally depend on factors like the sun shade for your planting bed, exposure to rainfall, and other climatic conditions. Mimic the surroundings of your planting bed by using different types of plants for adding dimension. Select a primary color scheme for your planting bed using two or three colors which look good together. It is good for beginners to stick with two or three colors. Otherwise, it will lead to chaos and confusion.
Organize the Plants Well
Organize the plants in your planting bed well. It is good to arrange the plants by their height. Put the tallest plants in the back and the shortest plants in the front. Plant the trees in groups to make them look more natural. The space between the plants should be sufficient to accommodate them when they grow up. If you want to plant any plants in your planting bed which need to be replaced every season like bulbs or annuals, place them in the front to facilitate easy replacement. Finish your planting bed by adding some mulch around the trees. This will give it a clean and tidy look.
If the above steps are followed carefully, your planting bed will be ready to accommodate and nourish a variety of plants. Taking some time to plan and prepare a good planting bed will give you a beautiful and long lasting garden.
About the author: Diana is a blogger by profession. She loves writing, reading and traveling. Beside this she is fond of luxury cars and wishes to own one day Bentley Continental Supersport.